There was no shortage of success for Tauranga swimmers at the annual Evolution Aquatics Tauranga Winter Champs.

Due to Mount Maunganui's Baywave facility being closed for remedial work, Hamilton's Waterworld hosted the event with 354 swimmers, predominantly from Auckland, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty making full use of Hamilton's 50m facility.

Two New Zealand short course records were set in the Saturday night finals session with Brearna Crawford (Mt Albert Grammar) becoming the fastest Kiwi over the 100m breaststroke swimming 1:07.14, and Hamilton's Laura Littlejohn (14) with a 55.80 second 100m freestyle.

Tauranga success came in the form of Lochlainn O'Connor and Josh Gilbert going 1-2 in the prestigious Classic Builders Skins event, which is an elimination event where the field of eight is whittled down to two that fight out for a cash prize over repeated 50m sprints.


Other local place getters in the skins included Isaac Williams and Lily Pearce surviving to the final pair before settling for second.

Caitlin Farrell was the only Evolution Aquatics swimmer to win an overall age group title, taking out the 13 and under girls title having won six events including a 59.17s 100m freestyle, narrowly missing the BOP record by just 0.06 seconds.

Other girls finding good form were 15-year-olds Eleanor Gilbert, Emily Mahon and Olive Pearce. Eleanor scored three podium placings before winning the 100m backstroke. Emily was second in the 100m butterfly while Olive fought back from a string of fourths for four podium placings including a rapid 2:08.75 personal best 200m freestyle.

Lily was second in the 200m butterfly and medley and the 50m freestyle and butterfly.

Also chalking up big points for the girls was Ella Hoskin, 16, winning the 200m butterfly in 2:24.13 and numerous podiums, a 4:24.45 400m freestyle being the standout performance.

Shaeli Brewer (12) was always thereabouts and achieved a second in the gruelling 400m medley. Zoe Wilkinson's consistency was rewarded with the win in same event.

Josh Gilbert (18) led the Evolution men winning four of his five events. The missing event was a narrow defeat to teammate Lochlainn O'Connor, 18, in the 200m freestyle.

Lochlainn also took four wins, with his 200m butterfly shattering the BOP age group record in 2:00.09. Isaac Williams, 13, had a heavy programme, victorious in four events. Travis Hudson, 16, attacked the sprint breaststroke shattering both the 50m and 100m Bay records.


Travis has expanded his repertoire recently resulting in strong 50m and 100m freestyle results. The dynamic 15-year-old trio of Louis Fitzjohn, Thomas Wilkinson and Tarquin Magner scored seven wins between them with podium placings across the entire spectrum of events.

Fellow 15-year-old Matthew Wagstaff chipped in with two seconds in the sprint butterfly events. Connor Farrell, 16, made four podiums including a big 1500m personal best.

The Evolution Aquatics Tauranga team fly out next week for a tilt at the South Australian Championships in Adelaide.

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